State v. Reddick
|Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
|22 December 2021
|STATE OF MARYLAND v. JAMES ANDRE REDDICK, JR.
Circuit Court for Dorchester County Case No. C-09-CR-20-109
This case is before us on the State's appeal of the Circuit Court for Dorchester County's order granting a motion to suppress filed by James Andre Reddick, Jr. ("Reddick"), appellee. The circuit court granted Reddick's motion to suppress evidence recovered under an order issued pursuant to Maryland Code , § 1-203.1 of the Criminal Procedure Article ("CP"). The State raises the following single issue for our consideration on appeal:
Did the circuit court err by granting Reddick's motion to suppress evidence recovered pursuant to the search order?
For the reasons explained herein, we shall answer this question in the affirmative. Accordingly, we shall reverse the judgment of the circuit court granting the motion to suppress and remand for further proceedings.
The following factual account is drawn from the evidence that was before the suppression court on July 12, 2021. On April 24 2020, Detective J.M. Battaglia of the Baltimore County Police submitted an application pursuant to CP § 1-203.1 for an order authorizing the disclosure of geographic location information for a mobile telephone associated with Reddick. The District Court sitting in Baltimore County issued the requested search order on the same day.
Detective Battaglia submitted the following affidavit in support of the search order request:
Following the issuance of the requested search order, Baltimore County police investigators used cell site location information recovered pursuant to the search order, as well as financial transactions and video surveillance footage, to develop their case against Reddick. On August 3, 2020, Reddick was ultimately charged via criminal information in connection with Belcher's death.  Reddick was charged in the Circuit Court for Dorchester County with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, robbery, assault, multiple handgun offenses, and related conspiracy and lesser-included offenses.
Reddick moved to suppress the evidence recovered pursuant to the search order. A hearing on the motion was held before the circuit court on July 12, 2021. At the hearing, the circuit court heard testimony from Detective Carroll Bollinger of the Baltimore County Police Department. Detective Bollinger was not the affiant of the search order request, but he testified regarding the investigation into Belcher's disappearance and Reddick's subsequent arrest. Detective Bollinger testified that "the information garnered [from the informant identified in Detective Battaglia's affidavit] turned out actually to be false information" and that the informant "had previously called on other occasions to Baltimore City Police and provided false information." Detective Bollinger did not testify as to when or how frequently the informant had previously supplied false information, nor did Detective Bollinger testify that Detective Battaglia knew or had reason to know that the informant had previously provided false information at the time he submitted the search order affidavit. No other witnesses testified at the hearing.
The circuit court issued a written order dated July 14, 2021 that provided as follows:
On July 19, 2021, the parties returned to the courtroom and the circuit court put its reasoning supporting the prior written order on the record. With respect to the search order, the circuit court explained its reasoning as to why it had determined that there was no substantial basis to support the issuance of the search order. The court explained:
[I]n this particular case . . . where we fail to meet the substantial basis test is one, there was no crime alleged in the application. There was no conclusion by the affiant that consistent with training, knowledge, experience that a crime had been committed or may be committed . . . nor any mention of any astringent evidence of a crime. Such as a ransom note, a body, and the only tip that the application relied upon proved to be erroneous given by someone who was known to give false information. So, based on the testimony at the hearing, you know my questions are did they have financials? Did they have video at that time to support the application and failed to articulate that, or was it just some wild guess? . . . [B]ut in any case I don't see how a neutral detached magistrate would have a substantial basis to issue that order. And therefore, anything seized as a result of that order . . . would be excluded.
This appeal, in which the State challenges the circuit court's conclusion as to the April 24, 2020 search order but does not present any challenge as to the circuit court's determination that the April 29, 2020 seizure and subsequent interrogation was unlawful, followed.
On appeal, the State asserts that the circuit court erred by granting Reddick's motion to suppress the evidence obtained pursuant to the search order issued under § 1-203.1, which authorized police to access the location data for a mobile telephone attributed to Reddick. The State does not raise an issue as to the circuit court's determination that the April 29, 2020 seizure and subsequent interrogation of Reddick was unlawful. Reddick presents two additional arguments as to why the location data should be suppressed: (1) because notice was not provided as required by the statute; and (2) because the search order...
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